Anjana was a beautiful apsara maiden, who, because of a curse, was born on Earth. Anjaneya was born to her, with the blessings of Vaayu. Even as a child, Anjaneya was powerful. One day he saw the Sun and thought it was a ripe fruit. Eager to consume it, he flew towards the Sun.

Indra, king of the celestial beings, was angered by the sight of Anjaneya flying towards the Sun and he aimed his thunderbolt at the intrepid child. The child came hurtling towards the Earth, and landed on its cheek.

The result of the fall was that the left cheek bone of the child broke. The Sanskrit word for cheek is hanu. Hence Anjaneya came to be known as Hanuman, said V.S. Karunakarachariar, in a discourse.

Seeing that even his thunderbolt had not harmed Anjaneya, Indra realised Anjaneya’s greatness. He blessed the child and said that he would be invincible. Brahma blessed the child too, and said that no missile would hurt him.

This meant, of course, that even the Brahmastra would not harm Anjaneya. When the time came for him to receive instruction, it was the Sun God who became his tutor.

Anjaneya was a mischievous child, whose pranks annoyed many sages who gave him a mild curse. They said that he would lose awareness about his strength, and would have to be reminded by someone about how strong he was. This was the case when the monkeys had to find someone to cross the ocean to reach Lanka, Anjaneya did not come forth to undertake the task.

He had to be reminded of his prowess by Jambavan, who told him that he was the only one capable of reaching Lanka, by flying across the ocean. Thus reminded of his powers, Anjaneya took flight, reached Lanka, located Sita, conveyed Rama’s message to Her, set fire to Lanka and returned to Rama.

Without Anjaneya’s help, Sita could not have been located, for who else had his powers to fly across an ocean?

Anjaneya also demonstrated the power of the name of Rama. He asked that he should continue to remain on this Earth, for he wanted to be in every place where the name of Rama was recited.